The Royal opens early, serving cappuccino and breakfast arepas; by lunch time, the wine is flowing, glasses of Vinho Verde or Cava washing down salads of grilled avocado and quinoa. Owner and wine director Paul Carlson has pulled on his Colombian heritage to assemble a menu that encourages grazing, from little empanadas and fries topped with cojita cheese to all matter of protein off the wood-burning grill. He’s also got the drinks list to go with it. The taps run with house-made vermouth, the trebbiano base infused with DC-grown wormwood, cane sugar and Jerez brandy ($5 at happy hour); the bartenders stir up complex, savory drinks, like the Newburn, tangy with tamarind and powered by Monkey Shoulder Scotch. He’s also gathered an impressive selection of rare rums, from a grassy, herbal, vintage-dated bottling from St. Lucia to a dark, rich navy-style rum from Lost Spirits.
501 Florida Ave. NW, Washington D.C.
This story appears in the print issue of February 2016.
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